In the recent arrest of 12 men and 5 youths planning terrorist activities here in Canada (see this CTV report here), Luc Portelance of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) commented: “It is important to note that this operation in no way reflects negatively on any specific community or ethno-cultural group in Canada. Terrorism is a dangerous ideology and a global phenomenon. As yesterday’s arrests confirm, Canada is not immune from this ideology.” This is interesting, for in the list of names released on the report, all of them are clearly Muslim. I am convinced that it would be a despicable act of utter folly and downright racism to argue that this means all people of Muslim descent in this country are potential terrorists. After all, my own birth-name was Azad Michael Anthony Hakim and my forebears were Kurdish Muslims from Kirkuk, Iraq. I endured enough racist slurs as a young boy growing up in England and Canada in the 1960s to know the error and personal pain of such racial stereotyping.
On the other hand, this surely does mean that threats to our country’s safety are more likely to come from this community than from among immigrants from Brazil, say, or Thailand. And it would be equal folly for we who love Canada to think that she would be immune from the struggle that has engulfed other Western nations like Britain, Australia, Spain, and the U.S.A. I suspect we have thought that because the hatred of many in this world has been directed against America, we will get off scot-free, since we are clear that we are not Americans, but Canadians. But the distinctions that we love to make between ourselves and our friends to the south is completely lost in the eyes of many who are filled with loathing for all things Western. As our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, emphasized: “We are a target because of who we are, how we live, our society, our diversity and our values—values such as freedom, democracy and the rule of law—the values that make Canada great.” (By the way, what a joy to have such a man as our Prime Minister!)
In these dangerous times, though, we who have a commitment to Christ have another responsibility above and beyond love of country: love of Christ and concern that his Kingdom embrace men and women of every clime and tongue. This is a Kingdom that is not of this world and cannot be brought in by the clash of arms or weapons of human destruction. It is by gospel proclamation, words of witness, deeds of love and Christian community—and above all the grace of the Holy Spirit’s converting power—that this Kingdom moves forward. And we must never forget that among the people for whom our Lord Jesus died are those who today call upon Allah. And there is coming a great day when they will cast this idol to the winds, the bats and the moles, and be converted and worship the Lord Christ.
God, hasten the day!
HT: Paul W. Martin.